Gray water tank and handling

Capt. Mike

This subject has become important as most state and all federal facilities have outlawed dumping of gray water to ground. Many have also outlawed dumping to an open container (bucket or pan). Thus it is becoming a legal requirement to use a containment or tank system in many places. Fines can exceed $100, so it's not worth it. -- Capt. Mike

"Gray" water storage

Jeff Reich (, 5/20/99 (12:06 AM)

I want to install a small holding tank where the sink water exits under the van. Does anyone have information on an existing tank that will fit this area?

-- Jeff Reich

Clifford Gottschalk (, 5/20/99 (11:49 PM)

Yes they do make a gray water tank for the Westy models and they are a 20 liter water tank. They fit underneath the original drain and fit fairly nice. You have to make two brackets to mount this unit and it has spigot on the side to drain this water. There are two problems with this tank, it lowers your ground clearance and is only designed to fit non-air conditioned Vangons. I understand the A/C lines prevent the tank from fitting properly - but I can't understand why it couldn't work if somewhat modified. This tank can be had for $95.00, P/N 61003, from They also have nice other nice stuff, like tents, racks, etc. Hope this helps and good luck.

-- Clifford Gottschalk

Capt. Mike Soehnlein (, 5/26/99 (6:23 PM)

Go to my pictures link on the home page, Under Westy Accessories you will find a picture of the left hand side of my Westy, with a side outlet for gray water (clears cabinet space and provides "drop" for better drainage. The water then goes to a regular collapsable 6 gallon gray water tank available from Reliance through many camping supply outlets. I got mine from Camper World.

The beauty is this tank can be dumped in any toilet or outhouse, and folds into a small packet for carrying -- about 12" x 12" by 3". They come with hose and even fittings to run more than one in tandem, though we've never found the need.

Putting the side drain fitting in is simple -- there's a hole in the middle of the cabinet and you eliminate the drain hose running all the way down through the floor. This frees up space -- always at a premium. There is a picture of the inside of my cabinet in the pix site as well. The fitting is available form any RV supply for a couple bucks; the tank about $15 last I bought. A buck worth of plastic tubing and you're in business.

Oh, fines in Federal sites can hit $100 for dumping gray water to ground. Fed and many states no longer allow open recepticles. Degree of enforcement varies but I have seen rangers citing vehicles and warning others to shut down.

Capt. Mike


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New member
A low cost method to collect your gray water can be made with a few common gardening parts and some scrounging.The threads on the drain line(with the little cap)on my 85 westy are the same as a garden hose.I put a plastic inline shutoff adapter for a garden hose on the original.The male threads are still facing down,but you can shut it off now by turning the little handle on the valve.I cut about 1 1/2 ft off the female end of a garden hose to put on the fitting.At the local natural foods store,I found a discarded square and squat plastic oil container that had a cap with a spigot.I washed it well,removed the spigot and put the hose through the hole.The hose stores in the container.
When we get to the campsite,I pull the hose out, connect it to the drain and open the valve.It catches all the wastewater,and even though its only 2-3 gallons it rarely fills more than 3/4 full on a weekend.You can usually dump it at the campsite if they also have RVs.There are lots of different containers you can use(like an old plastic gas can).Just remember to disconnect it BEFORE you move on!


New member
I'm going to see how well a collapsible five gallon water carrier does for a gray water tank for my 82 westy. We used one for years for an Aristocrat when I was a kid, and now I find that Camping World doesn't even carry them. What I did find online is there are a lot of these for fresh water that look identical, and are less than $10, which is a lot less than the $45 or $50 Camping World wants for a hard sided five gallon gray/black water tank.

I'll let the board know how it works after the trip. What do most people use for their gray water (for the vans that don't have the built in holding tanks)?

Capt. Mike

Tell Camper World you want a Reliance C-tank, Reliance P/N 6010-01. They did not carry them in the catalog but DID stock them in stores and for special order. Of course any Reliance products dealer should be able to get them for you.

I don't generally recommend Camper World. They do have many useful items but are geared predominantly for the 3 BR, bath-&-a-half crowd. Prices are high unless on sale and I'm not a fan of their marketing gimmick "President's Club" -- to me just another excuse to charge you to reduce prices back to normal market anyway. They have a web site but it is a nightmare to navigate, especially if you have your security settings require authorization for permanent cookies. It won't take no for an answer and just keeps trying again & again, dozens of times in a simple catalog check.

The 6010-01 is the 6-gallon collapsable. Besides the dark blue color, they are heavier duty and come with the necessary hose & fittings. I don't remember the price, but not significantly more than just the fresh water carrier. Well worth it for the connecting items & safety of not getting them confused. Since they will spend more time sitting on gravel & sharp objects, the heavier gauge is worth while, though I still sit them on something like a scrap of linoleum. My only two failures have been one with eventual abrasion through the bottom and one with a nice set of bear claw slashes.
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Using a fresh water carrier worked well for this two week trip. I took an old hose, and cut it down to about six inches long. I attach the threaded end to the drain on the Westy, and stick the other end in the five gallon fresh water carrier. When we're done, we just dump it in the campground's dump station, or other appropriate area. When travelling, we screwed the original cap on the container, and were thus able to collapse the container and have it take up much less space.

I didn't have any problems with rocks and such, but I will keep an eye out for that in the future.

One other note - PO of this vehicle had installed an on-off switch on the gray water drain. I connect the hose, put it in the water carrier, THEN open up the switch - no water on the hands from any little bit of water we used while traveling.

[ 09-23-2001: Message edited by: Lunicorn ]


New member
GoWesty has a 2-2.5gal flexible plastic grey water tank complete with hose attachment to your (or least my drain pipe, I have a 1990)drain pipe. Yeah, it doesn't hold much, but can be carried easily to any place for proper drainage and collapses real small.


New member
Capt Mike, I don't get what you did for the side outlet for gray water (5/26/99 post). Did you drill a hole in the side of the van?

If you did, I'm not prepared to do that (yet). What would happen if I cut the sink drain hose short, attached it to one of those collapsible water jugs, and just kept that under the sink? (This way I could collect gray water without going outside.)Would the water drain without a vent of some kind in the jug? Is there a way I could reconnect the cut pieces of hose with a coupling if I changed my mind

Capt. Mike

Yes, I drilled a hole in the side exactly in line with the existing hole in the cabinet and the inner wall panel.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with draining to a tank under the sink but I was attempting to achieve two things -- a gray water tank that was functional AND additional space in the cabinet. With the hose through the floor removed, I gained a very worthwhile space as well as the convenience of not working around the hose.


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New member
Has anyone installed the holding tank from Eurocampers in a Vanagon with air conditioning?

It looks as though the air conidtioning lines could be easily re-routed, or temporarily moved to facilitate mounting the tank, but looks can be deceiving.
In my 84 Westy, I tried the GoWesty's set up and found that the collapsible tank did not equalize causing a very slow drain and was also prone to punctures. I found a 20-liter potable water carrier from Scepter, a Canadian company. They make two styles, upright and squat. The latter, which fits nicely under the sink drain. The benefit for me is the little breather opening. I made a plastic cap insert with a threaded end and then a splice hose with standard garden hose fittings on both ends. Now I can dump four liters of steaming spaghetti water through the colander P.D.Q.
For those of us who camp in remote BLM lands, it is also a very safe way to transport the now, very "gray" water out.
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Dave Hampshire

New member
Gray Water Drain Modification:

Thanks for the tip Capt Mike regarding the side mount gray water drain. Installed one on my Westy this past week and I'm very pleased with the results. Water from the sink drains quickly and the added space in the lower cupboard is greatly appreciated. Bought the fitting from an RV dealer, and it came with a stainless steel mounting plate. I used stainless steel bolts and nuts and a hefty dollop of RTV sealant. I added a PVC elbow, with both sets of threads wrapped in teflon tape.

Cutting a hole in the side of the Westy wasn't as big of an "issue" as I thought it would be!

Many thanks,

79 Westy with Vanagon Galley and Cupboards (Propane and Water tanks too!)
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New member
I have added the 45-liter gray-water tank that is available at on my 1984 Vanagon Westfalia camper. It was a lot of work. More importantly, the tank doesn't come with any instructions. I feel strongly that we (collective whole earth we) should not be dumping soap on the ground because it feeds plants, specifically algae. So I took the time to create installation instructions and have now posted a six-page PDF document on the web for viewing and download at gray-water_tank_install.pdf in the hopes that more people will tackle this job. As I say in the instructions, I am not trying to sell products for In fact I'm a little miffed no one there did this before hand.

July 4, I added a vent to the gray water tank and have updated my instructions on how I did that.


New member
Have installed pass-side gray-water tank

I am new to the group.
Just bought an '87 westy a couple of months ago, dove blue color, just love it. it is the 3rd westy for me, plus a splitter in late '50s. I have installed a 10 gal holding tank on the right side in the frame. I hope to put some pics up on the site if I can figure out how to do it. (Update: I did it I think)
had a problem with really SLOW sink draining but I think i have solved that problem very well. it seemed like the water didn't want to move very fast from the left side of the vehicle to the right even though I had used 3/4 ID garden hose!

I have also solved the table vs the closet door problem. I have pics of that too. I will go and post those now.


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